When we cleaned out Mom’s condo to get it ready for sale, we removed a bunch of stuff that had been stored in cupboards and closets and ignored for years. The paraphernalia was distributed among the five kids, to be examined later.
Among the boxes and bags that I received were two very old movie projectors, an old slide projector, slide carousels, a Super 8 hand camera, and lots of old movies from the ’70s. They are found in two light blue, high-quality plastic American Express World Travel Service bags.
Richard and I are going to have to figure out how to work the projectors, but for now I want to focus on the American Express World Travel Service bags. They are chock full of maps, passport cases, American Express travel tip booklets (one is entitled “Priceless Travel Secrets” in Laugh-In era typeface) and other items that harken back to a day when travel was a great adventure, something that you dressed up for and anticipated. In those days, you went to an American Express travel agent to help plan your trip, and the agent gave you “free” stuff that made the impending journey even cooler — stuff like these little blue bags. They reek of the ’60s and early ’70s, these little blue bags, like props you might see to set the time period on Mad Men.
The American Express bags belonged to my grandparents, who loved to travel and paid careful attention to every tip and suggested technique. I can just imagine them holding this bag stuffed full of cameras, film, itineraries, and booklets as they boarded a Pan Am prop plane for the transAtlantic trip, both wearing hats and dressy attire, passports secure in their passport case in one suit coat pocket, American Express Traveler’s Checks carefully stored in their special holder in another pocket.
It was a different time then.